It’s been four years since Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released the top 40 hit, Thrift Shop. For those unfamiliar, Thrift Shop is a song which playfully highlights society’s obsession with brand names, designer clothing and the status that comes with wearing expensive clothing.
Underneath the catchy tune and playful music video comes a message that promotes self awareness on consumerism. “Fifty dollars for a t-shirt, that’s some ignorant b****” the lyrics state. And it’s true. I have even partaken in this activity. We pay exorbitant prices for the clothes we wear because they bring us happiness, temporary stress relief and a material representation of self worth.
When we look closer at the price we pay for some clothes we can see it is in part influenced by the status it brings. Clothing has the ability to bring us confidence; the right clothes send the right message and reflect how we want others to see us. All of these subliminal messages are so important to each and every one of us in society.
An ongoing theme in Curb the Splurge is the difficulties in striking the right balance between consumerism and sustainability. It is terrifyingly hard to break free of the bonds of consumerism because it underlies many basic ceremonies and rituals we participate in.
Thrift Shop is an artist’s perception of consumerism within society. It popularises the thrift shop, an ethical means of consumption. By buying and donating clothes at charity shops we can attempt to curb the splurge. By analysing texts that challenge consumerism we can slowly become aware of how many decisions are influenced.
Can the fashion industry exist without consumerism? Important questions to ask and reflect on in our journey here at Curb the Splurge.
Image: Macklemore by Amanda Rhoades (via Flickr).